Reviewed by Carolyn Cherry
During a windy, rainy dull February, what a delight it was to take a trip to the theatre and watch the stage production of Mamma Mia with my daughter. It is now on at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton for the next 3 weeks. The show, I read to my surprise came out in 1999 so this is the 20th anniversary tour, the show has been all over the world, including America, Australia even Russia and China and is now on tour again in the UK. The music and lyrics were and made famous by the famous band ABBA in the 1970’s and bring the story to life.
The opening set is serene with a white simple taverna surrounded by that lovely warm Mediterranean blue that looked like a Greek picture postcard. The lighting cleverly creating ripples and blue skies and sea beyond the balcony. The story runs the same as the film, a tale of love, friendship, mother/daughter bond, fun, frolics and memories which enables it to appeal to both the young and old. The wedding of Donna’s daughter is when her daughter Sophie decides to research whom her father might be – unknown to her mother. The plot thickens and creates a big stir with three of Donna’s x-boyfriends turning up on the eve of the wedding day.
The music and sound are excellent, the vocals of Sharon Sexton/Donna, and Sophie/Emma Mullen hitting all the right notes and expressions. There are over 20 songs all of which I knew and could sing along too, having lived in the 70’s. Starting with the sentimental I have a dream, and others including the heart wrenching, Winner Takes it all, the comic Take a Chance on me, and Does your mother know, the sweet, Honey Honey and the mother daughter scene, Slipping through my fingers.
The young male friends of Sophie provide some great dancing, with appropriate wetsuits and flippers on before a dive, then later another dance with swimming gear on swimming around like fish almost. I didn’t think the male vocals were as strong as the females in the cast, but they provided some fun moments and dancing, similar to the film.
The friends of Donna, Rosie (Nicky Swift) and Tanya (Helen Anker) are very different characters, and provide the giggles in the plot, with their flirtations and dressing up in their 70’s ABBA-like costumes for the hen night entertainment. The costumes are very retro and glitzy, with frills, boots, feather boas and capes. They also sing along with their hairdryers in the bedroom.
At the end of the show everyone was up singing and dancing and applauding a standing ovation from a packed-out audience, which was well deserved. I would highly recommend Mamma Mia for a great entertaining night/afternoon out suitable for, family and friends, girlies/ladies nights out, or mothers and daughters, any 70’s music fans.
The Mayflower conveniently has a station nearby with taxi ranks and also very reasonable hotels within walking distance so it is easy to make an special occasion of it visiting with friends near and far and going to one of the many restaurants and bars nearby before or after the show.
A very enjoyable and special time with my 10-year-old daughter.
Tickets cost from £29.50 to £54.50 (booking fees may apply).
Mamma Mia! is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from 11-29 February 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.mayflower.org.uk or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811